Auntavia Jackson, 35, is throwing her hat in the ring to run against Carmella Venturini in the spring election on April 6, 2021, for the Racine Unified School District seat #6. To read more about other races, click here.
Where do you live? Racine, WI
How long have you lived there? Born and raised.
Spouse or partner’s name? None
If you have children, please include their ages? A 15-year-old son and an 11-year-old daughter.
What is your current profession? Director of Southeastern WI Expansion for Public Allies Racine/Kenosha
What position are you applying for? Racine Unified School Board District #6
What motivated you to seek out this seat? I am running for School Board because I believe our children should be at the center of every single decision that our School District makes, every single day. As a School Board member, I want to help our district create opportunities for all students to learn new skills and access the high-quality learning experiences that they deserve. We can improve access and opportunities so all students can see themselves thriving in Racine after they graduate. So that they are able to continue their education, learn a trade, work, and, if they choose, raise a family.
Why do you think you are a good candidate for the job? At my core, I am an advocate for others. I earned my Associates Degree in Human Services from Gateway Technical College and I am currently finishing my Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work. I am also the Director of Southeastern Wisconsin Expansion for the organization Public Allies, where I help bring their mission of building a more just and equitable community within Racine and Kenosha. Further, I know that when students have the right support, they will achieve their dreams. I also have the experience it takes to advocate for Racine’s students on the School Board.
Name three things you would like to see change with how things are being done. We need more teachers, staff, and administrators that look like the students they serve, and that live in Racine and understand the experiences that our students have here. Also, we need to ensure that all students are listened to, treated with kindness, and able to access high quality learning experiences regardless of their race. Lastly, we need to productively support students social and emotional health so that they can be in class learning, and able to focus on their coursework
What resources would you need to have to accomplish that? We would need to ensure that staff diversity, social/emotional interventions, and racial equity professional development are budget priorities for the school district.
What would success look like and how would you measure that success? Increase in staff diversity and local hires, reduction in discretionary suspensions, and an increase in professional development hours dedicated to the issues I shared.
How would you seek buy-in from either the community and/or your colleagues to accomplish those tasks? Firstly, I would listen to my constituents, to students and their parents, and to the teachers and staff that work with them to truly understand what’s working and what’s not working for our kids. Next, I would try to find bright spots where schools are achieving these goals already and share those across the district. Lastly, I would work together with families and with others who are interested in solving these challenges like my fellow school board members or other community organizations.
What characteristics do you bring to the table to accomplish those tasks? As a former student of RUSD public schools and a mother of two children who attend RUSD public schools, I also have a direct connection that helps drive my passion to keep our children at the forefront of conversations. My lived experiences with being a parent navigating the school system, my interactions, and connections to the community allow me to bring my learned experiences to the table. My career as an advocate, whether it’s been in health care or non-profits has shown me how to effectively find solutions to any challenge.